affordable care act, obamacare

The White House has delayed a key element of the new health care law, AP reported. The provision that companies with 50 or more employees would have to provide health insurance for their employees or be fined, which was supposed to take effect in January 2014, has been delayed an additional year, until January 2015.

The change was made in response to pressure from business groups. Hotel chains, restaurants, retailers and other multi-location businesses that have lots of low-paid employees have been vocal in complaining that the requirement puts undue pressure on them.

One reason for the delay may be the complexity of tracking how many hours employees worked, whether they can afford to buy their own coverage and whether they would qualify for federal aid to buy insurance if their employer didn’t provide it, the Los Angeles Times reports. The complexity had prompted even some companies that supported health insurance reform to announce they would reduce employee hours to avoid the hassle of tracking this data.

The good news for small business owners with fewer than 50 employees is that you don’t need to be concerned about this delay. The change only applies to companies with 50 or more workers—most of whom already provide health insurance.

The Treasury Department has said additional details will be provided later this summer about how the requirements will be implemented in 2015. The change is not expected to affect the availability of health insurance exchanges. You can visit Kaiser Family Foundation’s website to see the status of health insurance exchanges in each state.

To read more about how the changes will affect small businesses, visit the SBA website.

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